Thursday, February 21, 2013

Expectations



When I was growing up, I never really fit in anywhere. I had friends - usually just one or two close trusted friends, and a few whom I considered friends even though we didn't trade secrets. But whenever there was a get together of a group of people... even if my friends were there, I felt like an outsider. Those who really know me, understand that this hasn't changed.

But, me being an outsider isn't the point of this post. The point is...

When I was in ninth grade, I believe it was in late winter or early spring, our high school started an environmental group. The first meeting had probably 100 or more students show up. We hired officers. And, of course, the popular students got the positions. But, that was ok. I took notes that first day. I wrote the meeting minutes. I wasn't the secretary, or any other position, but I liked the idea of this group and was eager to get involved. I met with the leader after that first meeting. Vance was a college student, and his enthusiasm in environmental issues was very intoxicating and addictive.

After that first meeting, we only had maybe a dozen or less students at every meeting - and none of those people were the actual officers. I'm the one Vance called when he had an idea for an activity. I'm the one who helped him contact the rest of the group. I'm the one who was at every event and meeting. I contacted the media to get our group on the news. I dug through tons of trash cans and boxes of garbage, separating out all the recyclables. I brought my brother with me when our group toured a recycling plant. I loved the group. I felt I truly belonged somewhere.

Unfortunately, school finished for the year... and after a few meetings in the early summertime, Vance stopped calling. I tried contacting him a few times with some ideas, but he didn't return my calls. I later found out that Vance had only started the group to earn some college credits. Once his goal was met, he was gone.

This is someone I had looked up to. He had gotten me excited in something. He had made me believe in something. I had trusted him. I had expected him to have the dedication and desire to keep the group going... I had expected him to stay loyal to the group, and to me. And he let me down. It took me the rest of the summer and a couple months into my sophomore year before I finally got the hint and accepted that he wasn't coming back.

Now that I think back on this... I have just realized that I don't think I really ever forgave him. I'm still angry about his betrayal. But again, this isn't the point. Moving on...

Since Vance, there have been a few more people who've affected meas he did. And by few, I mean one... maybe two. And these few betrayed me as well. And, by betrayed, I mean they went against my expectations. They followed their own desires rather than what I wanted.

As humans, we tend to place expectations on people - especially people we care about, those we trust and/or love. And these expectations are almost always unrealistic. We expect people to be faithful to us. We expect them to be there when we're hurting. We expect them to support us emotionally. We expect them to not hurt us or betray us. We expect them to not leave. We expect them to put our desires first. But, no one can hold to all these expectations all the time.

We need to learn to let go of expectations of people, and accept that others will hurt us from time to time.

There is only one place to put those expectations where we will not be disappointed - provided we don't make those expectations unrealistic.

We can place expectations in God. I'm not talking about expecting him to grant our every whim and desire. I'm talking about expecting him to love us unconditionally. I'm talking about expecting our sins to be forgiven through the sacrifice of his son. I'm talking about expecting him to be there beside us, lifting us up, through good times and especially bad.

God will not betray us. He will not leave us. He will not choose his own selfish desires over our needs. So, "Put your expectations on God - not on people" (Joyce Meyer).




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